Don’t you ever wonder what seeing Table Mountain for the first time must be for tourists and out-of-towners? Especially if it’s your first visit to South Africa and you still believe that man and wildlife live in harmony in the city centre.
I imagine the gasp that escapes them when they realise the mountain is far bigger and inexplicably powerful in person. I can believe that they would want to spend much of their time gazing at her and we found the perfect place to do just that, while sipping on cocktails and prawns so fresh, they were probably caught that very morning.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of dining at Ginja at the V&A Waterfront, then this is a perfect opportunity. Yes, the food is great, the wine stellar and the service attentive, but it’s the uninterrupted views of the Mother City’s national treasure that is their most enviable feature. Location, location, location.
I would definitely recommend the outdoor seating. The tables are set up next to the canals, and your view of the mountain is impeccable. There is also the hustle bustle of the area that lends to the outdoor seating. The traffic on the canals and the people buzzing around all around, at a masked distance, is a nice change after lockdown.
Don’t dismiss the restaurant seating indoors though, the widely-spread seating in brown leather furniture and wooded finishes, accented with metal lighting is classy-chic. It is modern but with the comfort of soft leather couches and beautiful paintings of African culture. It is a mix of culture meets the modern world.
There are many places at the V&A Waterfront to indulge in fresh seafood, but none that offer a little bit of Indian-influence that adds a unique touch to the food. The dinner menu has smaller plates if you prefer tapas-type meals or heartier wholesome meals for those who came to get serious about the food.
For the less ravenous, options of baked camembert, chilli garlic squid, beef tartare and mussels range from R125 – R185. The main meals include braised lamb shin, line fish, coconut fish curry, Wagyu beef burgers and gnocchi which again range from R185 – R305.
Salads and sides are also options with a variety to choose from. As a starter I opted for the mussels in a coconut curry sauce with an aniseed loaf. It didn’t have any chilli kick in it, so you are safe if you don’t have a penchant for heat. The mussels were fresh and the sauce rich and fragrant – the aniseed bread transported me back to my childhood, with the smell of just-baked naan bread emanating from my grandmother’s kitchen. Not the naan you eat with curry, but a sweet loaf bread baked with caraway seeds. The bread complimented the mussels perfectly.
The main course was pre-decided when we saw the advertisement of 16 chilli garlic prawns with ciabatta, chips, salad and a bottle of Iona Sauvignon Blanc for R550. It proved to be the best decision we made all week. The prawns were fresh and meaty, and completely soaked in a creamy chilli sauce. Again, the chilli wasn’t hot at all so ask for a side of chilli to up the ante, if you want to bring the heat.
The skinny fries, and incredibly delicious green salad worked well with the dish, use the ciabatta to make sure you get to all the leftover sauce. Iona is a special wine; it is sweet, has a tinge of apple freshness and cuts through any seafood with ease. The pairing is both clever and thoughtful – it reflects the true flavour of the prawns. The special is available until March 2021 so you have enough time to plan ahead and book your table.
If you have space for dessert, try the chocolate fondant with ginger ice cream. It rounds off a leisurely dinner with great company, too many prawns and the best view in the V&A Waterfront. I suggest you dine before sunset so you can watch the sky turn shades of orange and yellow, golden hour on Table Mountain is one not to be missed and if you top it with prawns and a bottle of wine, you have an unforgettable experience that so many would be envious of right now.
Picture/s: Ginja website/Nidha Narrandes